BY ANDREW SEMKOW
For more than two decades Maury Whyte has been entertaining students. The Sheridan Animation professor has been screening movies for students in S235 since 2007. The films range from classic to modern and from major releases to independents. But when it first started, it was only for Animation students.
“We started it unofficially back in the ’90s before the theatre was even built. We’d just use a large screen TV and a small pod/lecture hall that we had over in A-wing where Animation was at the time, and I would let students choose a film and then they would have to do a brief writeup about it,” explains Whyte.
The screenings became public around 2007 by accident. Whyte wanted to only show one film a semester that was tied to curriculum, but his students wanted him to screen more films and after checking the availability of S235 he decided to turn it into a weekly event. But when a woman in communications walked in on the screenings, she became interested and asked if she could post about it.
Afterward Whyte and his students took over posting about it until Sheridan TV picked up announcing the next movie.
Whyte’s selection process ranges from picking his favourites to student suggestions. He also screens classic films because the time when they were made didn’t offer smaller screen’s, and that he feels if you haven’t seen it in a theatrical setting you truly haven’t seen the film.
Students aren’t the only ones who have benefitted from the screenings. Whyte credits his weekly screenings to introducing him to his favourite films: Tarsem Singh’s The Fall and Koyaanisqatsi by Godfrey Reggio after students had suggested the films to him. But some of his favourite films to screen are ones that Sheridan graduates have worked on.
“It’s always nice to bring it full circle and let the students realize that you know there’s a chance they’re gonna get their films up on the big screen if they keep working at it.”